Watching 2016 Come to a Close, And Looking Back in Time More Generally

Three days into my four-day weekend for Christmas and here I am writing.  I love writing.  I appreciate writing for the time capsules we are left with, our personal investment or someone else’s.  I received Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast As I Can and Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody to keep me company on my break but writing makes my soul happy, too.  All too often I know I take for granted my ability to read and write (and certainly, comprehend).  2016 is coming to a close and rather than berate myself again for giving you too small a glimpse into 2006 for comparative purposes, I will just share with you today some moments from back then in just a bit.

Holidays are holidays regardless of where you find yourself in the world.  Sometimes, they are enjoyed to the fullest extent (such as a friend’s recent engagement yesterday) while others are spent worrying about finding space out of the cold and a warm meal (as is the case with many homeless persons around the globe).   My Christmas this year was one of the best I’ve had of all remembered Christmas celebrations.  It was not dramatic or filled with expense gifts.  My husband, daughter, and I spent nearly eight hours at a friend’s house for Christmas Eve and the company of her family reminded me fondly of my own who I haven’t spent Christmas with since 2005, due to financial reasons and work-related availability.  Christmas yesterday was spent with my in-laws.  Our meal did not have all the traditional trimmings my family likes to make but consisted of various new things I’ve never experienced for Christmas dinner: pork roast, corn pudding, croissants (not like I EVER turn those down!), cauliflower casserole, and Cheesecake Factory’s White Chocolate Peppermint cheesecake.  It is in simple life moments, like having a full plate at Christmas dinner, that I know I am privileged.

I am more aware of my opportunities and ability to dissect the world I live in, the paths I’ve taken to get here, and to reflect on how I’ve grown as a person.  I know I should not be embarrassed to share some rantings from 2006 but they are a bit awful.  I really hit a wall with where I was with the Marine Corps, feeling like it was a complete waste of time, struggling with a second tour in Iraq that felt inadequate.  Additionally, it didn’t help that I was spending the holidays with a group of people mostly whom I felt no connection to and that’s not a healthy way to bid one’s time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas (Yeah I know I’m early)

Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope you are all having a wonderful time back home (on in Iraq-don’t worry Matt, I didn’t forget you) or in Angola (Cody, I didn’t forget you either).  I know the holidays are very different for everyone this year so I am hoping you all have the best holidays that you can.  As for myself, my Marines and I are exchanging our secret santa presents tomorrow morning at 0630 and then I get to go to a wonderful event at 0800 in our base theater.  I can talk to you all more about it after I go.  Other than that, I do not have to work on Christmas (this is such a blessing, since I feared our boss would make us).  For my secret santa, I bought National Lampoon Christmas Vacations 1 and 2, a Mad Libs: Who Moved My Cubicle, pistachios, and Hot and Spicy and Barbecue Vienna sausages.  I also got him this David’s Sunflower seeds spitter cup, but that I found, so it was free. 🙂 It’s not used…don’t think that’s what I meant when I said I “found” it.

I have nothing else going on other that on Christmas.  I finished the novel I bought the other day.  It was called The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards and I liked it a lot.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  I know I probably won’t get the chance to leave notes on everyone’s pages so I hope this suffices for everyone.  Enjoy the ham, turkey, roast beef, prime rib, vegan (if that’s what you are eating), enjoy the cookies, cakes, and pastries.  Enjoy the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, rice.  Whatever you enjoy, have a wonderful holiday.  Enjoy the time with your family and friends and please email me photos if you take any. 🙂  I love and miss you all.

Love,

Cheryl

I have some great opportunities coming ahead in 2017 but I do appreciate the opportunity to share these brief moments in the present and past with you all.  2006 and 2016 were very unique years in my life and as you can tell, my writing style changed greatly.  You provide me the space to speak of ‘normal things’ with such rawness and we live in a time where divulging the ‘normal’ stuff rather instantaneously (it is not with irony that I shared the following Instagram photo below) gives us the means to understand so much more about societies, family life, and personal experiences.  I know I don’t give you a door into everything into my past nor will I grant you access to everything in my future but I hope you often find the conversation I’ve given you is enough.

 

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Writing About Your Life: Intimate Details

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I know it’s not normal for you to get an updated post from me this time of time but I am at home with my sick daughter and now that I’ve sent her off for an afternoon nap, it’s time for me to enjoy some “me time” which translates to writing.  It may not be what I do best [yet in my life] but it’s one of the best things I enjoy.

When I started this blog back in 2014, I mentioned something that probably did not come off as an intimate detail in my life.  I mentioned how, back in 2004, one of the Corporals at my unit told me not to write a book about Iraq.  Now, as a thirty-two year old, I cringe more when I think of that asinine statement.  There is not a single soul in this world that deserves to tell me what to do with my life.

I think war narratives are important, even if I haven’t liked all the ones I’ve read.  The point is not to get rich.  The point is not to be famous.  The point is to convey a slice of history that can be lost otherwise.  The point is to capture sights, sounds, people, and places that are changed in the moment and hopefully influence people to take a more nuanced approach to understanding war.

As impossible as it is to whittle down what I learned in graduate school, one of the best lessons I came away with is uncovering the extent of how society ignores, belittles, and underreports the achievements and lived experiences of women.  We are not shadows of living beings; we are living, too.  I say society in this reference in speaking specifically to American society however there are many teachings that shows us women compared to men are often given less notice.

I write to you all today to tell you I will write my book.  I will write it regardless of whether it gets published.  I will write it because there will never be another moment in time that mirrors this experience.  I will write it because there are numerous others who could gain something from this type of storytelling.  I will write because a song I heard recently made me think of this experience and the amount of emotional connection I have to that point in my life.

I will not forgo a personal achievement because another human being has such set opinions against writing war memoirs.

If you’re wondering about that song, below are the lyrics:

“Every Little Thing” (Sung by Carly Pearce)

The scent that you left on my pillow
The sound of your heart beating with mine
The look in your eyes like a window
The taste of your kiss soaked in wine

Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing

Guess you forgot what you told me
Because you left my heart on the floor
Baby, your ghost still haunts me
But I don’t want to sleep with him no more

Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing

They say time is the only healer
God, I hope that isn’t right
Cause right now I’d die to not remember

Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Every little thing
I remember every little thing
I’m haunted by the memories of
Every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Every little thing